Twenty eight year old striker Jonathan Glenn will finally have his time to shine tomorrow evening as the “Soca Warriors” face Haiti from 6.30 pm (TT time) in a 2016 Copa America Centenario play off at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City.
Trinidad and Tobago will play in an all-white kit.
Victory would guarantee Trinidad and Tobago of three international matches against the top teams from CONCACAF and South America this June. A loss means coach Stephen Hart would have to twiddle his thumbs and wait to see whether the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) can raise the money to get a game against whatever team is inactive and interested at the time.
Jamaica’s appearance at the 2015 Copa America was followed by a second place finish in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Warriors hope that matching wits with South America’s top football nations can give their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign a similar impetus.
Haiti’s current head coach, Patrice Neveu, has been in charge for barely a week, so it is difficult to anticipate how the French-speaking Caribbean nation will line up. But scouting reports suggest that Haiti can be rattled at the back and are susceptible in the air.
Bread and butter then for Warriors captain Kenwyne Jones. Only Jones is unavailable and on the other side of the globe as he prepares for life with his new United Arab Emirates employers, Al Jazira.
Hart has already publicly shared his concern about the air miles needed to bring his captain home for international games. And, in that context, Glenn has extra motivation tomorrow.
Jones has 15 goals in 27 outings for Hart and he is unlikely to be cast aside anytime soon. But, if Glenn is to confirm his role as a viable alternative to the former Premier League forward, then there could not be a better audition than Haiti.
“This game is extremely important to all of us,” Glenn told Wired868. “This is an opportunity to play in a major tournament alongside some of the world’s best teams.
“It also gives us quality games which would help us in preparation for World Cup qualifiers.”
The average Trinidad and Tobago football fan might have been unaware of his presence on the team before now. Or who he is at all.
A former St Anthony’s College student, Glenn was a NCAA Division II player with Saint Leo University in Florida while his club career has been similarly obscure.
He is, essentially, the “other Glen.”
Former World Cup 2006 attacker Cornell Glen is fifth on Trinidad and Tobago’s all-time scoring list with 23 international goals. But Glenn has rarely ever enjoyed the spotlight as he bounced around in the lower levels of the United States’ professional game before moving to Iceland in 2014.
A few months later, Glenn won his first senior international call up through verbal recommendations and YouTube clips.
Hart described Glenn as the best finisher in his squad when he selected him for the November 2014 Caribbean Cup finals. Yet the striker played a combined 23 minutes from a possible 390 minutes at the Jamaica competition and then was an unused substitute for the entire 2015 Gold Cup.
Glenn made good use of the playing time he did get, though.
In Jones’ absence, Glenn got his first start last September and he scored and assisted in a friendly 3-3 draw with Mexico.
A month later, he started alongside Jones and created the opening goal for his captain in a memorable 2-1 friendly win over Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
Glenn will hope for another productive showing in Panama City tomorrow night. To date, he has one goal and two assists from two starts and three substitute appearances for Trinidad and Tobago.
Hart expects a tough match against Haiti and spent part of his team’s training camp preparing for penalties.
“I think we have to do what we do well, be consistent with it, minimise our errors in crucial parts of the field where we could be punished,” Hart told the TTFA Media, “and understand that this game will be a tight one and can possibly be won in the second half so we have to manage it properly.
“It’s the nature of the game and we’ve practiced penalty kicks. We know who are the responsible shooters but in reality when it comes to that situation it’s who feels they can kick.
“I cannot tell somebody to go and kick and their frame of mind is not (one of) confidence. I will try as best as possible not to reach that situation.”
The Warriors have had three penalty shoot outs since Hart took charge. They lost all three.
Hopefully, Glenn can engineer a win in regulation time.
“My ambition is to help us qualify for the 2018 World Cup,” said Glenn.
He can start by helping the Warriors past Haiti tomorrow.
(Trinidad and Tobago squad)
Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Adrian Foncette (Police FC);
Defenders: Daneil Cyrus (W Connection), Carlyle Mitchell (Seoul E-Land—South Korea), Radanfah Abu Bakr (HB Koge—Denmark), Yohance Marshall (Murcielagos FC—Mexico), Mekeil Williams (Antigua GFC—Guatemala), Aubrey David (Deportivo Saprissa—Costa Rica);
Midfielders: Andre Boucaud (Dagenham & Redbridge—England), Khaleem Hyland (KV Westerlo—Belgium), Kevan George (Unattached), Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars);
Attacking Midfielders: Trevin Caesar (Austin Aztex—USA), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA), Lester Peltier (Slovan Bratislava—Slovakia), Joevin Jones (Chicago Fire—USA), Rundell Winchester (Portland Timbers II—USA), Jomal Williams (W Connection), Ataulla Guerra (Central FC);
Forwards: Jonathan Glenn (Breioablik—Iceland), Shahdon Winchester (W Connection);
Staff: Stephen Hart, Hutson Charles, Derek King, Michael Maurice (goalkeeper coach), David Muhammad (manager), Peter Rampersad (manager), Dr Terrence Babwah (doctor), Dave Isaac (therapist), Tobias Ottley (fitness trainer), Saron Joseph (trainer), Michael Williams (equipment manager), Shaun Fuentes (press officer).
Goalkeepers: Steward Ceus (Atlanta Silver Backs—USA), Valendi Odelus (Aigle Noir AC), Jaafson Origène (Don Bosco FC);
Defenders: Méchack Jérome (Armada FC—USA), Frantz Bertin (Mumbai City FC—India), Judlin Aveska (Mohun Bagan—India), Stéphane Lambèse (PSG—France), Kim Jaggy (Aarau FC—Switzerland), Alex Christian Junior (FC Boavista—Portugal) Kevin Lafrance (Miedz Legnieca—Poland);
Midfielders: Sébastien Thurière (Charleston Battery—USA), Jean Marc Alexandre (Negeri Sembilan—Malaysia) , Max Hilaire (Pau FC—France), Soni Mustivar (Sporting Kansas—USA) ,Constant Monuma (Don Bosco), Sony Nordé (Mumbai City FC—India), Pascal Millien (Armada FC—USA), Junior Delva (Don Bosco FC);
Forwards: Wedson Anselme (Aigle Noir AC), Kervens Fils Belfort (1460 Trabzon Sport—Turkey), Jean Eudes Maurice (Ermis Aradippou—Cyprus), Woodensky M. Chèrenfant (Fica), Duckens Nazon ( Stade Lavallois—France).
Coach: Patrice Neveu.
Editor’s Note: The 2016 Copa America play offs between Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago and Panama and Cuba will be broadcast live on SportsMax 2.